The Invention of Ancient Slavery?


Despite its provocative title, Niall McKeown's The Invention of Ancient Slavery? does not claim that Greek and Roman slavery is an invention of modern scholars. Rather M. argues that crucial debates in its study have been determined more by a variety of modern predispositions than by the ancient evidence. In trying to prove this thesis, M. provides a lively and intelligent survey of some of the most important debates in the study of classical slavery - mostly Roman slavery. Historians in the field may not find his discussions of particular controversies detailed enough to be conclusive. He sometimes overstates his main argument. Nevertheless, this is a carefully researched, well written, and stimulating book; I assigned it without hesitation in a course Greek and Roman slavery.


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